The Shadow Year: A Novel

The Shadow Year: A Novel

by Jeffrey Ford

Paperback(Reprint)

$14.99
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, April 30

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061231537
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/17/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 721,896
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.68(d)

About the Author

Jeffrey Ford is the author of the novels The Physiognomy, Memoranda, The Beyond, The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque, the Edgar Award–winning The Girl in the Glass, The Cosmology of the Wider World, The Shadow Year, and The Twilight Pariah, and his collections include The Fantasy Writer’s Assistant, The Empire of Ice Cream, The Drowned Life, Crackpot Palace, and A Natural History of Hell. He lives near Columbus, Ohio, and teaches writing at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Read an Excerpt

The Shadow Year
A Novel

Chapter One

The Eyes

It began in the last days of August, when the leaves of the elm in the front yard had curled into crisp brown tubes and fallen away to litter the lawn. I sat at the curb that afternoon, waiting for Mister Softee to round the bend at the top of Willow Avenue, listening carefully for that mournful knell, each measured ding both a promise of ice cream and a pinprick of remorse. Taking a cast-off leaf into each hand, I made double fists. When I opened my fingers, brown crumbs fell and scattered on the road at my feet. Had I been waiting for the arrival of that strange changeling year, I might have understood the sifting debris to be symbolic of the end of something. Instead I waited for the eyes.

That morning I'd left under a blue sky, walked through the woods and crossed the railroad tracks away from town, where the third rail hummed, lying in wait, like a snake, for an errant ankle. Then along the road by the factory, back behind the grocery, and up and down the streets, I searched for discarded glass bottles in every open garbage can, Dumpster, forgotten corner. I'd found three soda bottles and a half-gallon milk bottle. At the grocery store, I turned them in for the refund and walked away with a quarter.

All summer long, Mister Softee had this contest going. With each purchase of twenty-five cents or more, he gave you a card: On the front was a small portrait of the waffle-faced cream being pictured on the side of the truck. On the back was a piece of a puzzle that when joined with seven other cards made the same exact image of the beckoning soft one, but eight timesbigger. I had the blue lapels and red bow tie, the sugar-cone-flesh lips parted in a pure white smile, the exposed towering brain of vanilla, cream-kissed at the top into a pointed swirl, but I didn't have the eyes.

A complete puzzle won you the Special Softee, like Coney Island in a plastic dish—four twirled Softee-loads of cream, chocolate sauce, butterscotch, marshmallow goo, nuts, party-colored sprinkles, raisins, M&M's, shredded coconut, bananas, all topped with a cherry. You couldn't purchase the Special Softee—you had to win it, or so said Mel, who through the years had come to be known simply as Softee. Occasionally Mel would try to be pleasant, but I think the paper canoe of a hat he wore every day soured him. He also wore a blue bow tie, a white shirt, and white pants. His face was long and crooked, and at times, when the orders came too fast and the kids didn't have the right change, the bottom half of his face would slowly melt—a sundae abandoned at the curb. His long ears sprouted tufts of hair as if his skull contained a hedge of it, and the lenses of his glasses had internal flaws like diamonds. In a voice that came straight from his freezer, he called my sister, Mary, and all the other girls "sweetheart."

Earlier in the season, one late afternoon, my brother, Jim, said to me, "You want to see where Softee lives?" We took our bikes. He led me way up Hammond Lane, past the shoe store and the junior high school, up beyond Our Lady of Lourdes. After a half hour of riding, he stopped in front of a small house. As I pulled up, he pointed to the place and said, "Look at that dump."

Softee's truck was parked on a barren plot at the side of the place. I remember ivy and a one-story house, no bigger than a good-size garage. Shingles showed their zebra stripes through fading white. The porch had obviously sustained a meteor shower. There were no lights on inside, and I thought this strange because twilight was mixing in behind the trees.

"Is he sitting in there in the dark?" I asked my brother.

Jim shrugged as he got back on his bike. He rode in big circles around me twice and then shot off down the street, screaming over his shoulder as loud as he could, "Softee sucks!" The ride home was through true night, and he knew that without him I would get lost, so he pedaled as hard as he could.

We had forsaken the jingle bells of Bungalow Bar and Good Humor all summer in an attempt to win Softee's contest. By the end of July, though, each of the kids on the block had at least two near-complete puzzles, but no one had the eyes. I had heard from Tim Sullivan, who lived in the development on the other side of the school field, that the kids over there got fed up one day and rushed the truck, jumped up and swung from the bar that held the rearview mirror, invaded the driver's compartment, all the while yelling, "Give us the eyes! The fuckin' eyes!" When Softee went up front to chase them, Tim's brother Bill leaped up on the sill of the window through which Softee served his customers, leaned into the inner sanctum, unlatched the freezer, and started tossing Italian ices out to the kids standing at the curb.

Softee lost his glasses in the fray, but the hat held on. He screamed, "You little bitches!" at them as they played him back and forth from the driver's area to the serving compartment. In the end, Mel got two big handfuls of cards and tossed them out onto the street. "Like flies on dog shit," said Tim. By the time they'd realized there wasn't a pair of eyes in the bunch, Softee had turned the bell off and was coasting silently around the corner.

I had a theory, though, that day at summer's end when I sat at the curb, waiting. It was my hope that Softee had been holding out on us until the close of the season, and then, in the final days before school started and he quit his route till spring, some kid was going to have bestowed upon him a pair of eyes. I had faith like I never had at church that something special was going to happen that day to me. It did, but it had nothing to do with ice cream. I sat there at the curb, waiting, until the sun started to go down and my mother called me in for dinner. Softee never came again, but as it turned out, we all got the eyes.

The Shadow Year
A Novel
. Copyright © by Jeffrey Ford. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Nick Gevers

“The Shadow Year captures the totality of a lived period, its actualities and its dreams, its mundane essentials and its odd subjective imperatives; it is a work of episodic beauty and mercurial significance.”

Jonathan Carroll

“Jeffrey Ford is one of the few writers who uses wonder instead of ink in his pen.”

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Shadow Year 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an intense novel. It really and truly was, and it is elegantly written and well-done. Our narrator is a nameless sixth grader, the middle of three children in a family struggling to get by. This is very much the year he comes of age, where he awakens to the world. Its a story of families and siblings. Its a story where our narrator sees that the world loses it's soft edges and where a boy discovers that safety is an illusion and that everything has teeth. That is WHY its so intense, because it is all too real how the narrator discovers child molestation, death, sex, and the myths that childhood is grounded in. Though your own experiences may not be as intense or similar, we all remember when we started to figure out that our parents can't protect from us everything, that sometimes parents need protecting, and that the world isn't safe. It captures the fears and doubts of that age perfectly. Its set in the lush background of the sixties, in a land without pop culture permeating everything. And in this world where horrors are not quite yet real, it is totally believable when the author weasels in hints of the supernatural. It makes the book more unsettling and increases the intensity. I didn't feel the need to question the paranormal elements, and our narrator feels much the same, because magic is easier to believe when you're young. The writing is strong, very visual. There are only a few stutters, the biggest flaw being the author's assumption that you can totally remember the names of characters mentioned fleetingly one hundred pages ago (especially since so many names sound alike almost everyone's last name starts with an 'H'!). But this is a small flaw, and the only one that really niggled at me. Still, you may need to build your own 'Botch Town' to keep track of who's who! I didn't expect to like this book, the first few pages were a little difficult for me. But I found myself engrossed and unable to put it down halfway through - it was so easy to slip into this world and accept it unquestioningly. I recommend it very strongly for those that like books like 'The Lovely Bones' and who enjoy straight fiction. It may not be as life-altering as that work, but it has a similar feel to it, and it is really thoroughly enjoyable.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In a small town on Long Island in the sixties, a family is going through some tough times. Jim, his brother and their sister watched their father work himself to death doing three jobs and their mother drink her self into a stupor. They escaped to the basement where Jim and his brother built ¿Butch Town¿ a cardboard representation of their neighborhood populated with action figures and match box cars.---------------- Their sis Mary who is in class X in school because they are not sure if she is very bright or simpleminded changes things in ¿Butch Town¿ and those things she alters come true. She removes the figure of a boy and the next day people discover he is missing nobody finds him. A neighbor Mr. Baritzar is found in snow with his neck broken by a snow plow Mary took his figure off the board earlier. The boys believe a stranger ¿Mr. White¿ is behind the disappearances and Mary traces him on Butch town. A former resident now eighteen years old returns to deal with Mr. White and he is willing to help the three siblings.------------- This interesting fiction is an amalgamation of mysticism, imagination and mystery. The twelve-year old narrator keeps a chronicle of the goings on in the town for the year and since the story is told in his first person, readers get into the heart of an adolescent young boy. The atmosphere is gothic in which reality and the supernatural meet to form a book well worth reading.------- Harriet Klausner
Hilly-D-says More than 1 year ago
This book is well written and just draws you in, it's like he's reliving a memory not telling a story. So deatailed the characters leap off the page, the story is interesting and takes you deeper and deeper. I would not call this a thriller but more of a progressive mystery. I just downloaded another one of his books, a fan for life!
bcquinnsmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shadow Year is set in the 1960s, in a small town on Long Island. It's a coming of age story, a quasi-mystery story, with a bit of speculative fiction all thrown in together. I've seen this book compared with Stephen King's writing, and yes, perhaps to a wee bit, I can see why. Here, though, we're introduced to a rather sad and dysfunctional family. The main character of the novel is a 6th grade boy who lives with his older brother Jim, a younger sister Mary, and a set of parents who have some serious problems. Mom is an alcoholic and lives in a quasi stupor most of the time, while Dad works three jobs to make ends meet. The children's grandparents live in an apartment attached to the house. The sixth grader is the narrator of the story (we're not given his name), and through his eyes events of a particular year unravel themselves. While Mary runs numbers in her head and plays with imaginary friends to help cope, the boys have their own space in the cellar below the stairs: Botch Town, where the town they live in has been faithfully recreated out of clay and what ever other materials are handy. The boys often go down and recreate events happening throughout the town using the clay figures they've created.As the story gets rolling, strange occurrences begin to take place. A prowler is looking in through windows throughout the neighborhood. Jim decides that the boys will take on the case and while they're working on that, a boy from the narrator's school disappears. Even worse, the boys come across a man dressed all in white (known as Mr. White) driving a white car with bubble top and fins, who starts watching them. But as these events happen, the boys realize that Mary's a step ahead of them and has recreated them in Botch Town.The reader is drawn in from the very beginning and stays there throughout the novel. You want to know what happens not just in the sense of these strange events, but to the family as well, because you genuinely care about all of these characters. Plus, Ford has this incredible way of evoking a vivid sense of nostalgia; my guess would be especially from people who grew up during the 60s. There's a reality to the atmosphere he creates that keeps you reading more. There are parts that are downright laugh out loud funny, while the family situation and other, more grief-laden scenes keep it real. And although the final payoff may not be as worthy as the tension that grips you up to that point, it's still a strangely satisfying ending.Definitely recommended.
HippieLunatic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ford has a secure grasp of the darkness of childhood with an addicted parent, along with the ways a child can find brightness in order to live with it. Descriptions are elegant, and the main character is one you can imagine growing into the writer of this tale. A child, looking to create his own world, would very likely get caught up in Botchtown, using his siblings as fodder for his imagination.I found the ending to be a little too cookie-cutter, given the treasured jagged edges of the beginning of the novel. For me, the jagged edges are what allow a story to become real in my mind, what attach themselves to me. The ending lacked this attachment for me. (I cannot say how I would have hoped to rectify this, only that it felt as though Ford ran out of material after a very solid 225 pages.)**Spoiler alert, kind of**Ford gives clues as to the truth about Ray, and I was okay with the paranormal hints regarding the character. If anything, the questions which are presented in passing give strength to the childlike quality of the narrator. There was absolutely no need to solidify the assumptions of the main character with a "years later" epilogue.
ethelmertz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book has an engaging plot, but it is very dark. The narrator's world is one of stalkers, bullies, child molestors, kidnappers, and an alcoholic mother. Once the story got going, I was involved in the characters and curious about questions raised by the narrator and the plot, but the ending felt rushed. It pulled me out of the story, and almost felt false. It didn't bring the closure for which it was reaching.
citygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The rhythm doesn't come until the second half, before that I wanted to be more drawn into the story but just wasn't. The narrator's voice captures perfectly a Long Island sixth grade boy exploring his neighborhood with a surefooted older brother and sweetly spooky younger sister who might be either "really smart or really simple." There is a sense of the supernatural woven throughout could have been more strongly evoked as the kids try to figure out who the neighborhood prowler is and whether he is connected to other strange occurrences. Mary, the younger sister, seems to know, preternaturally, the prowler's whereabouts. I enjoyed reading this story, especially as the pace picked up, but I would have enjoyed it more if some of the characters were painted more indelibly; there are many names sprinkled throughout the book and I would have appreciated more continuity among the ones who turn up more than once.
TheTwoDs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Shadow Year, by Jeffrey Ford, combines a 1960¿s coming-of-age story with elements of mystery and the paranormal. Our narrator is entering the 6th grade and, along with his 13 year old brother Jim and 10 year old sister Mary, discovers a mystery happening right in their Long Island neighborhood. A prowler has been spotted and heard sneaking around the yards of the suburban homes. The kids take it upon themselves to investigate. Complicating matters is the disappearance of a classmate of the narrator. Is the prowler a kidnapper? A murderer? With a predominantly absent father ¿ he works three jobs, so the kids barely see him ¿ and an alcoholic mother who dreams aloud of Bermuda as she slips into her boozy haze most evenings, the kids have the run of the town. To give any more away would be a disservice. The action picks up and leads to several frightening scenes.Reminiscent of Robert McCammon¿s Boy¿s Life, the book succeeds in capturing that magical age of boys, just before junior high, where childhood beliefs compete with teenaged hormones and know-it-all-ness. A cynic might wonder why the boys just don¿t go to the police with their findings and suspicions. That cynic will have forgotten his own early adolescence ¿ how many 12 year olds would love to have a mystery to investigate? How many would rather go to the cops?The book has some structural weaknesses, especially the jarring brevity of some chapters which condense the timeline. I feel that the story could have been expanded and would like to have read further detail about Mom and Dad, who are the weakest characters, almost stock characters. The most fascinating character is Mary, the younger sister, who seems to have a form of autism in that she is always counting, verbalizing a bewildering string of numbers. This leads to her precognitive abilities to determine where certain townspeople will be at any given time. She would make an interesting subject in her own book.
johnklima on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In THE SHADOW YEAR we follow an unnamed narrator, his older brother Jim, and their younger sister Mary through the events of one Summer during the 1960s. A prowler has appeared on their street, causing consternation for the adults, but excitement for the narrator and his siblings as they finally are able to fill their Summer with something: they are going to discover the identity of the prowler. At the same time, the chilcren take note of a mysterious white car driving quietly around their neighborhood late at night.The boys build a model of their home town in the basement, which they dub Botchtown. The narrator begins constructing stories about Botchtown's inhabitants, Jim adds more details to the people and homes in the model, and Mary... Mary moves the pieces around when the boys aren't around. It doesn't seem random; after she correctly predicts the future location of the prowler and white car, the boys actively want her to help.As with any Ford piece, the prose is lucid and easy. Even the most complicated topics sound simple coming off Ford's pen. And there's a depth to his writing that is practically unparalleled. While the story moves along and the boys try to uncover the identity of the prowler and the driver of the white car, Ford paints an uneasy family portrait: the boys' father is working several jobs and the family is barely scraping by; the mother drinks herself to sleep most nights; the grandparents live above the garage in an apartment; and the boys have to deal with bullies and pranks at school. As a reader, you're torn between wanting to learn more about the family and wanting to solve the mystery. In a lesser writer's hands, this would be distracting, but for Ford, it just flows naturally.And everything is told through the eyes of a nine- or ten-year-old boy's eyes. You never forget that it's his voice that's telling the story. So you have his sense of wonder when seeing things for the first time, his terror at events that are mundane to adults, and his unquestioning belief in the strength of his own family. He knows things aren't right, but he loves it all the same.The only potential drawback the book had for me was that I felt the ending sort of just happened. It felt, open-ended, almost unresolved. However, I look at it as a reflection on real life. Real life doesn't tie itself up neatly; real life has all sorts of things happening and nothing comes to a solid conclusion.This isn't a book you read for the ending, this is a book you read for the journey.
nancyewhite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Shadow Year chronicles a year in the life of a sixth grader who narrates and remains unnamed. Like all of the other details that are spot-on, Ford gets right that for kids a year begins with the start of school and ends the following summer.This book nails the details of the narrator's life. It describes that coming-of-age period when we realize that some people hurt little kids and that sometimes our parents aren't doing as good of a job as they should. The characters in this book feel like real people and do the things that real people do.The book has a supernatural element as well with the narrator's sister, Mary, using a miniature version of their town and its inhabitants to predict events with some reliability. In many ways, the supernatural part of the plot was secondary to the plot of a child's life in a family with problems. There is a scene where the boys purposely encourage their alcoholic mother to drink so they can sneak out of the house that feels so devastatingly real it is almost unbearable to fathom.In the end, the most important thing about the book is that Jeffrey Ford can really write. Each description is a pleasure to read.
-Eva- on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An opulent mix of gothic horror, mystery, ghost story, and realism, all in one engaging package. Initially (since I have never read Ford before and hadn't read the back blurb thoroughly), I thought this would be a purely semi-biographical tale of the writer's childhood experiences, family, and friends, because his details and descriptions are so en pointe (the screaming "faces" in the wood paneling, the way the oxygen disappears from the room when the drunken mother rages against life, etc.). Then, when the magic starts, the realistic canvas of this world makes the supernatural events all the more poignant.The story is a little meandering, with loads of anecdotes and stories that don't really belong in the straightforward plot, and normally I would feel like the "extras" would be a waste of time, but here I feel like they add to the overall plush carpet. I want to know more about all the (slightly grotesque...) characters and I find that the mystery part isn't the most important for me.One thing that really struck me is the imagery. For example, an image of someone, when dead, looking like they "swallowed [their] tongue the wrong way." It's not a new image, but the twist is what caught me - how horrid would it be not only to swallow your own tongue, but to get it down the wrong way! Maybe it's just me, but I love little things like that. In fact, it's a writing style like this that'll make me pick up other books by this writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a good book but it is poorly written. The dialogue feels very unnatural at times and the sentences can be choppy. Also, I cant quite explain it, but sometimes the way the plot moves just feels wrong. It also feels unnatural sometimes.
g33kgrrl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jeffrey Ford's The Shadow Year is a well-written less fantastical book than the rest of his bibliography.I swear I've read part of this book before, presumably in a short-story collection, but the feeling of half-remembering the story only enhanced the dreamlike quality of the book. The narrator is a young boy, and the events are told from his perspective, making him at once an unreliable narrator and a narrator more reliable than most adults: while a child may not be able to sharply delineate between events that really happened and things that only happened in his head, this can only be a benefit when the things that are really happening involve ghosts and play-towns that are inexplicably linked to the real thing.If you've enjoyed Jeffrey Ford's previous offerings, this book will not disappoint, and if you've not yet had the pleasure, this will be a good starting place. Highly recommended.
andywolverton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jeffrey Ford's new novel The Shadow Year is an expanded version of his novella "Botch Town" (from his collection The Empire of Ice Cream), a nostalgic tale narrated by a sixth-grade boy attempting to deal with not only the changes in his own life, but also those in his immediate Long Island neighborhood - including a prowler and a serial killer.Readers of Ford's short fiction will find fewer speculative elements here, but threads of weird creepiness run throughout the book, especially in the form of the narrator's little sister who displays precognitive abilities. Strong elements of mystery and horror are also prominent as the narrator (along with his older brother Jim and sister Mary) tries to solve the mysteries of the prowler and the serial killer. Are they related? Are they the same person? Yet it's the normal, day-to-day routine elements of The Shadow Year that give the book strength. Ford expertly captures the fun, adventure, confusion, sadness, joy, and fear that are all a part of youth.
PirateJenny on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reviewer's copy won on LibraryThing. Must. Ignore. Typos. (That's the hardest thing about reading ARCs--putting aside my job training).It's a strange year for our narrator (his name is never given). It's some time in the 60s, I'm guessing, and the weirdness starts when a peeping tom is spotted across the street. He's immediately added to older brother Jim's model of the neighborhood, Botch Town. The brothers notice the prowler being moved in Botch Town, then showing up in those places in their neighborhood. Turns out their sister Mary can figure out where he's going to be. Then a boy from the neighborhood disappears and Mary can figure out where he is. But things start getting strange when this odd white car keeps showing up. First only the narrator seems to notice it, but then all three kids do, and the car too ends up with a model in Botch Town.But who is this Mr. White? Is he as sinister as the kids make him out to be? And around this goes on the business of daily living.I liked the surreality of Mr. White and how he seemed so invisible to most of the town. I did, however, want more of an explanation for Mary. One review said the climax petered out, but I think that was the intent--I don't see how a big breathless climax would have worked with this book. It was a strange, surreal year in an otherwise "normal" childhood.
princemuchao on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The novel flows very well, and despite its 300 pages is an easy one day read with short chapters and better than average prose. It describes growing up in the suburbs in the early 1960s in an evocative way, and I liked the idea of the Perno Shell books. The elements are all there for a wonderful novel, but the execution is somehow flawed, and the book seems rushed, especially the climax.The supernatural elements are not only largely incidental to the main plot, but seem to be incomplete, and too numerous and discordant to be thought of as occurring in real life. I love magical realism, but it needs to be written in such a way that you unquestionably accept the supernatural elements of the story, and I think the key to reader acceptance is to choose a single supernatural concept and frame it in such a way as to make the reader believe that it could exist in the real world and not be noticed outside of the experience being related. In this book, Ford introduces three separate and unrelated magical elements... it is too much to accept. The elements related to Botch Town, being the only ones necessary to drive the plot and the most interesting of the supernatural elements, should have been developed more thoroughly and the other two removed.With the first person narrator as a sixth-grader, it is hard to determine whether perceived flaws in the novel are an intentional product of the narrator's voice or a lacking in the author. Since Ford has won the Edgar, Nebula, and various other important awards, I am going to assume that the problems with the book are rooted in intentional, but unfortunate, choices the author made.
youthfulzombie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An engaging, well-written fast read. However, I did expect it to be darker or more suspenseful, based on the blurb in the Early Reviewer's listing - that being said, I did enjoy this book, for me it is reminiscent of some of Stephen King's first person stories, in that they seem to fully grasp the time and life of the first person character. If you are looking to read a dark suspense novel about a summer plagued with murder this is not it. The characters make the story, not vice versa.
AsYouKnow_Bob on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Admirably well-written - Ford is rising to the top of the genre - but creepier than my taste.
ErosLane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a fun, enjoyable read! Reminiscent, but more subtle than, King's THE BODY and Bradbury's SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES. I've been a big fan of Ford's works for years now, and that while SHADOW YEAR felt like a bit of a departure in subject and tone compared to his previous efforts, his muse and talents did not fail him. It was a great, memorable weekend read. Several portions had me laughing hysterically (the Trick-or-Treating segment) or wistful (the dash through the neighborhood peeking briefly into people's windows and lives had such an uncurrent of beauty) or slightly creeped out (I won't look quite the same at a white car with fins at a car show for quite some time) clear through to an ending that was, for me, perfection.Well worth the money spent and the time. Here's a book you could easily pass around the family/friend book circle we all have.
CornerDemon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an intense novel. It really and truly was, and it is elegantly written and well-done. Our narrator is a nameless sixth grader, the middle of three children in a family struggling to get by. This is very much the year he comes of age, where he awakens to the world. Its a story of families and siblings. Its a story where our narrator sees that the world loses it's soft edges and where a boy discovers that safety is an illusion and that everything has teeth. That is WHY its so intense, because it is all too real how the narrator discovers child molestation, death, sex, and the myths that childhood is grounded in. Though your own experiences may not be as intense or similar, we all remember when we started to figure out that our parents can't protect from us everything, that sometimes parents need protecting, and that the world isn't safe. It captures the fears and doubts of that age perfectly.Its set in the lush background of the sixties, in a land without pop culture permeating everything. And in this world where horrors are not quite yet real, it is totally believable when the author weasels in hints of the supernatural. It makes the book more unsettling and increases the intensity. I didn't feel the need to question the paranormal elements, and our narrator feels much the same, because magic is easier to believe when you're young.The writing is strong, very visual. There are only a few stutters, the biggest flaw being the author's assumption that you can totally remember the names of characters mentioned fleetingly one hundred pages ago (especially since so many names sound alike; almost everyone's last name starts with an "H"!). But this is a small flaw, and the only one that really niggled at me. Still, you may need to build your own "Botch Town" to keep track of who's who!I didn't expect to like this book, the first few pages were a little difficult for me. But I found myself engrossed and unable to put it down halfway through - it was so easy to slip into this world and accept it unquestioningly. I recommend it very strongly for those that like books like "The Lovely Bones" and who enjoy straight fiction. It may not be as life-altering as that work, but it has a similar feel to it, and it is really thoroughly enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Along the flatlands is a large, flower filled prairie. Mainly splashes of purple and yellow, with some blue and red, this is a fun place to go to, as it is very lively.